Wednesday, June 13, 2018

New Book Alert: Breakout by Kate Messner

I love Kate Messner! Her books are incredible, and she does great work for kids, teachers, and other authors alike. If you don't follow her blog, you should, if only to get notified when the annual list of authors offering free Skype visits for World Read Aloud Day goes live!

Her latest book, Breakout, arrived last week. I was so excited about this book, that I actually preordered it twice from different retailers (once in December and again in February). But having read it, now I'm glad to have two copies to circulate in my classroom!

Two prisoners escape from the local prison, shattering the quiet in the sleepy town of Wolf Creek. Nearly everyone in town has some connection to the prison, and the lockdowns, police searches, and news media affect everyone. How long will this search go on? And what might the community learn in the process?

Breakout is told through a collection of documents to be added to the town's time capsule project. This format really allows the voices of the various contributors (friends Nora and Lizzie and new-in-town Elidee) to shine. It also provides multiple perspectives on certain incidences during the story, and the reader gets to witness the characters' understandings of themselves and their town evolve.

Kate has done a great job of weaving the big issues of racism, privilege, and prison reform into an engaging and entertaining story. Middle grade readers are gently introduced to various microaggressions, and issues such as racial profiling, the disproportionate incarceration rates of African-Americans, and more. This is a book that will spark some great discussions and (hopefully) reflection in its readers.

Kate also published an amazing blog series, Countdown to Breakout, that covered the 23 days before the book launched. In it, she explored a ton of different topics in the "behind the scenes" of the book, including how she got the idea, insights into drafting, the positive impact of her sensitivity readers, and more. There are a TON of great resources for teachers of writing too, including samples of her editorial critique letter, her giant revising diagrams, and more! I can't wait to incorporate some of these real-world examples into my curriculum.

This one is must-have for middle grade and middle school! (Click here for more reviews of new books.)

Monday, June 4, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 06/04/18

It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from picture books through YA by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. You can visit either site for a round up of blogs sharing their weekly readings and thoughts or search Twitter for #IMWAYR.

Recent Posts

I'm back! So I failed a bit in my goal to share an #IMWAYR post once a month since the baby has been born, but that's ok too. Maternity leave has definitely cut into my reading (especially my easily going-to-the-library time to check out new books and picture books), but I am certainly learning quite a bit more about the world of board books.

Board Books

Baby Loves Quarks! by Ruth Spiro and illustrated by Irene Chan. This was the first autographed book I bought for my baby, way back last summer at Nerd Camp #nerdcampMI. I had met and chatted with Ruth Spiro the previous year at Nerd Camp and was excited to add this title to my collection. The Baby Loves Science series introduces actual science topics in unique and informative ways for the youngest of readers (Coding, Thermodynamics, Gravity, and more). Plus the illustrations feature a variety of diverse babies as subjects. Who wouldn't want to get out their building blocks after learning about quarks?

Middle Grade

The Parker Inheritance (2018) by Varian Johnson. This is an engaging mystery / quest book with a historical (and Civil Rights) component. Read my full review about this must-read book here.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed is a middle grade novel set in modern Pakistan that wrestles with issues about economic exploitation and indentured servitude. Read my full review about this great new #ownvoices story here.

The Unicorn Rescue Society (series) by Adam Gidwitz and illustrated by Hatem Aly. Read my full review about this great new series here.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

June #diversekidlit

Welcome to #DiverseKidLit ! Please join us in sharing your diverse children's book links and resources, as well as visiting other links to find great suggestions and recommendations.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children's Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children's books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.


We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, July 7th and the first Saturday of each month.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Becky @ Franticmommmy
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Bethany @ Biracial Bookworms
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children's books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live?

Receive an email reminder for each new #diversekidlit linkup

Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children's Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

Share Your Link Below